Monday, May 6, 2013

2013 Upfront Questions, Fox


Part two of the upfront preview is the SCHEDULE-centric portion, as I examine the big-picture scheduling questions each network faces on each night in the final week before its upfront. I've always favored laying out the possibilities rather than creating an actual mock schedule; this seems to set me up better to review the schedule next week without making it all about how my own prediction/recommendation did.

Last week's Power Rankings were the SHOW-centric portion, in which I drilled more into the merits of individual shows: Fox True Power Rankings

Other Upfront Questions: NBC | Fox | ABC | CBS | CW




MONDAY

2012-13 Schedule
8:00 - Bones
9:00 - The Mob Doctor / The Following

Question: Will Fox try harder to transcend the "filler while we wait for The Following" perception?

I still like Glee on this night, as discussed last week, but I doubt it's happening after the two-year renewal. If it's a new drama, it should get the same kind of "limited-run" promotion as The Following did. A typical 13+back nine drama like The Mob Doctor without a midseason home just feels like filler, and it was treated as such by the promotional department and the viewers. The "event" feel, the 13 consecutive episodes, and the promise of an ending are things Fox should work to their advantage in the fall just as they have in the spring with 24 and The Following.



TUESDAY

2012-13 Schedule
8:00 - Raising Hope / Hell's Kitchen
8:30 - Ben and Kate/ Hell's Kitchen
9:00 - New Girl
9:300 - The Mindy Project

Question: What's the solution to keep New Girl afloat?

I don't like Glee for a return to the night, but I can't completely rule out it happening. The Fox Tuesday 8:00 hour is one of the biggest wild-cards on any network. There are a couple tough competitors in NCIS and The Voice. The 9:00 lead-out show isn't strong enough to leave on an island (see last year) but is strong enough, particularly in younger demos like 18-34, to try hard to keep going for the long term. Hell's Kitchen has worked pretty well in the hour and would be a nice safety net for midseason. Until then? Could be Glee, could be a new drama, could be some other reality show, could be another comedy hour. If it's a comedy hour, definitely expect it to be a much splashier effort than Raising Hope and Ben and Kate last year. They can't count on New Girl to lift all boats again.



WEDNESDAY

2012-13 Schedule
8:00 - The X Factor / American Idol

Question: To what extent will Fox acknowledge that its singing empire is crumbling?

I was kind of afraid all the stupid press in the last few weeks about how American Idol had "stabilized" might have encouraged Fox into yet another year of ridiculous complacency. But maybe the drop to sub-3.0 on both American Idol nights last week will be the final kick in the pants they need. Idol is staring at 25%+ year-to-year declines for a second straight year, while The X Factor was down over 20% on both nights in its second season.

There are some super-creative options for The X Factor and American Idol; they could cancel the results shows and reinvent Thursday. I'm not a fan of this one because... well, I remember how utterly out of the game Fox was on Thursday before they moved Idol, and they don't have the depth right now to do any better. They could move them to somewhere like Thursday/Friday and reinvent Wednesday. I'm not a fan of this one because I don't think the teen and 18-34-heavy audiences will follow them to Friday; it accelerates the decline unnecessarily.

My vote is more conservative, but they should at least do this much: shrink the Wednesday shows. X and Idol are not "great" lead-ins anymore, and by next season they may not even be "good." But "decent" still seems like a strong possibility, at least for one more year, and that's better than they can do otherwise. A new drama or comedy (comedies?) should absolutely go after the Wednesday edition of these shows for much of this season. They need to try to get something going, because 2014-15 is not exactly an absolute given, particularly for The X Factor.



THURSDAY

2012-13 Schedule
8:00 - The X Factor / American Idol
9:00 - Glee

Question: Are the singing lead-ins still compelling launch-pads for new shows?

I'm pretty sure the answer is yes, particularly in the early stages of American Idol's season. It's not like Fox has a ton of better options, even if Idol gets down to a 2.0 next year. Glee might stay put, but pitting it against Grey's Anatomy seems like the worst possible way to wring ratings out of this franchise. With CBS maybe headed for a comedy expansion, we're once again in a spot where some kind of procedural could be a good counter-programming option.



FRIDAY

2012-13 Schedule
8:00 - Kitchen Nightmares
9:00 - Fringe / Touch

Question: Does Fox make any real scripted effort on a post-Fringe Friday?

There's only one scripted show on the current Fox roster that feels like it might hit the Friday "sweet spot" of too weak for a weeknight but possessing the kind of audience that could follow it to Friday: Raising Hope. If Fox is really picking up five new comedies, perhaps one of those (or, worst-case, The Mindy Project) could join Raising. I'm not sure it's smart to make much of a scripted "effort" beyond that, and I can't rule out zero scripted effort whatsoever. (With Cops cancelled earlier today, maybe Kitchen Nightmares and something like the still-unscheduled Hotel Hell?)
 


SUNDAY

2012-13 Schedule
7:30 - The Cleveland Show
8:00 - The Simpsons
8:30 - Bob's Burgers
9:00 - Family Guy
9:30 - American Dad!

Question: Will Fox return to an integration of live-action and animation on Sunday?

It's easy to forget because it's been a few years now, but combining the comedy types has been far from uncommon historically for Fox. It was particularly prevalent before Family Guy and American Dad! came along to solidify the 9:00 hour for the 'toons. With Fox apparently looking at a lot of comedy pickups and trimming down its animated second-tier a bit, don't be a shocked to see this integration again. The most obvious candidate is Dads, already picked up for six episodes, since it comes from Fox animated king Seth MacFarlane.

16 comments:

Spot said...

Monday
8:00 - Bones
9:00 - New drama

Tuesday
8:00 - Dads
8:30 - New sitcom
9:00 - New Girl
9:30 - New sitcom

Wednesday
8:00 - The X-Factor
9:00 - Glee

Thursday
8:00 - The X-Factor: Results
9:00 - New drama

Friday
8:00 - Kitchen Nightmares
9:00 - The Mindy Project
9:30 - Raising Hope

Sunday
7:30 - The Cleveland Show
8:00 - The Simpsons
8:30 - Bob's Burgers
9:00 - Family Guy
9:30 - American Dad!

Midseason: American Idol, The Following, Hell's Kitchen

Not impossible, but given the time and money Fox has spent promoting Animation Domination on Sundays I don't think that will change next season. It's why I think we may see The Cleveland Show next season as unaired episodes from its current season continue on, like a zombie show. Dads would be the most likely candidate to break into Sunday since I imagine it's a live-action cartoon, but something I'd rather have something that high-profile on Tuesdays. It'd skew male, and probably leave Fox open to arguments that it's incompatible with New Girl, but it'd also skew young; targeting younger males is probably a smarter option against The Voice and NCIS anyway.

I feel like the hardest show to schedule is Glee: putting it on Mondays or Tuesdays against The Voice feels out of the question, Fridays are out because of the 2-season renewal (unless it got 2 years specifically because they were told it was moving there?), and Wednesdays/Thursdays mean a struggling show is soaking up the best lead-in there is. The last option, though, is probably the best to protect the investment. I would move it to Wednesday to get it away from Grey's Anatomy and be a lighter drama option against heavier fare like Criminal Minds and SVU.

Spot said...

Answers:

Monday:

IMO, The Following should be launched on the fall. It feels sort of pointless to put all eggs (best drama, best reality) in one basket (winter/spring), as it leaves the other basket (fall) completely empty. I believe that there is a somehow synergetic effect on having hits on your network, if not for anything else, because it gives you a great promotional platform that otherwise isn't there. It also has the advantage of not getting into a mob doctor thing again where the drama is just a placeholder. However, as I will dwell into below, I would put the following on wednesdays and put the new thing on mondays.

Tuesday
With the recent news of 5 comedy pickups, I am somehow a believer that we will see the comedy block again. That does not mean that I think we should see it. In my mind, it should be: New Drama that can self-start, New Girl and New Comedy. Yep, a lot of promotion into this night, but they need new hit comedies and, especially, new hit dramas, badly! New Girl is still strong enough to anchor all this and it could go up again in the future IMO. So yeah, the solution to keep new girl afloat, IMO, is completely new stuff around it. A new female skewing drama on the veins of Delirium should probably do great at 8 and be compatible with new girl.

Wednesday
A big... hopefully yes! I 100% agree with you that the way to go is to reduce this to 1 hour. However, if it is a no brainer for X-Factor, it is not a no brainer for Idol. So I would do it in a smooth way, while still accommodating the "inconvenient" issue of the following needing a home solely for half a season: I would plug in the following in the 9pm hour. When Idol comes back, they can either decide to launch yet another new drama in there (doubtful because chances are that one one the monday or tuesday new drama flops, so the third one would have to go in there), plug in another comedy in the last half hour (most likely option IMO) or have it at 2 hours again. I like the comedy option better than 2 comedies because it avoids having the go head to head with Modern Family. Also, if it flops, they can just get idol back to 2 hours quickly.


Thursday
I don't think so! As imperfect as it may be and and declining as it is, I would leave it the same. With Glee renewed for two seasons, I think Friday is out of the picture and it can't held its own without the talents shows IMO. So yeah Grey's Anatomy is probably murdering it, but I don't see another solution that I really like. So since I want them to promote a lot of stuff on Monday and Tuesday, while revamping Wednesdays as well, I say leave Thursdays alone.


Friday
Yes. I would be surprised with no scripted options, especially because I really think RH will end up here. With so many new comedy orders, there is no room on the weekday schedule for it. I would put Mindy with it because I really think Mindy was a terrible renewal so just let it die along with Hope. Keep KN there.


Sunday
I had never thought of that but maybe that is the answer to where will all the comedies go. Still, it would surprise me a bit. This night is still working for them and they need to stabilize stuff elsewhere.

Spot said...

Monday
8. Bones
9. New Procedural Drama


Tuesday
8. Delirium or Boomerang
9. New Girl
9h30. New Comedy


Wednesday
8h. The X-Factor/ American Idol
9. The Following/ American Idol
9h30. The Following/ New Comedy


Thursday
8. The X-Factor/ American Idol
9. Glee


Friday
8. Raising Hope
8h30 The Mindy Project
9 Kitchen Nightmares


Sunday
Same

Spot said...

Monday: The Following has "season premiere post-Super Bowl" written all over it for next season. Fox basically needs another Following here, and if it works, the slot can be timeshared for years.


Tuesday: Two new comedies, no change at 9 (save your promotion).


Wednesday: One new comedy at 9:30. If it flops out of XF? Just make Idol two hours! Easiest scheduling move ever!


Thursday: I know this might sound ridiculous, but... Glee at 8, singing results at 9, new comedy at 9:30? It lets the singing results launch something whilst also getting Glee out of the way of Grey's.


In years to come, we will be talking of Glee's two-year renewal as the moment Fox overtook NBC in the race to be the first of the big four networks to collapse. With Revolution getting renewed, it seems like it's a race both sides actively want to win sometimes...


Friday: all unscripted. Fox can do better with reality reruns than scripted originals, and they even have something on brand that's already in the can!


Sunday: one of the second-tier shows should move to the 7:30 slot vacated by Cleveland Show, and its slot goes to Murder Police.


Dads can be left on the bench ready for use as a quickfire replacement in case anything does a Lone Star. You don't order a show for six episodes with a view to putting it on the fall schedule. Unless you're a network that renews a collapsing show for two years...

Spot said...

I thought they already had a new animated series ready to take the spot being vacated by Cleveland Show (obviously, not the actual timeslot - I have a feeling that American Dad gets de-prioritized again this year, this time for good, barring catastrophic failure of the newbie).

Spot said...

Monday

8: Bones
9: Rake/The Following

Tuesday

8: Glee
9: New Girl
9:30: Friends and Family

Wednesday

8: X Factor/Idol
9: Human

Thursday

8: X Factor/Idol
9: Enlisted
9:30: I Suck At Girls

Friday:

8: Kitchen Nightmares
9: Raising Hope
9:30: The Mindy Project

Sunday

7: Animation Domination reruns
8: The Simpsons
8:30 Dads/Bob's Burgers
9: Family Guy
9:30: Murder Police/American Dad!

Where are they going to put Dads and Murder Police? Between those two, Enlisted and I Suck At Girls, there are four male-focused live-action comedies

Spot said...

Yeah, it's Murder Police (not to be confused with ADHD's Axe Cop) with 13 episodes.

So, in the Spring, it will be American Dad at 7:30, Murder Police at 9:30.


I think The Simpsons will end at 25 seasons (but it may continue to produce Treehouse of Horrors). That puts Bob's Burgers at 8pm, American Dad at 8:30, Family Guy at 9pm, and Murder Police (or whatever) at 9:30.

Spot said...

The one drawback to your schedule here is pitting The Following against Criminal Minds on Wednesdays. Glee and Grey's Anatomy pull a similar audience, and Glee clearly lost out in that battle; I think it would be a repeat situation between those two tonally dark dramas. But Wednesdays at 8 would be an interesting choice...

Spot said...

Good point with that one. Swapping out the two then, as you have suggested. The Following has already proven to be a self-starter and Wednesdays at 8 are actually prime for a drama with nothing on except Arrow!

Spot said...

One additional question:
How will Fox schedule the incredible amount of new shows it has ordered? It is crazy how much they have ordered! I am very happy for it though and I think it definitely answers your third question!

Spot said...

Yeah, and as I alluded to in my schedule, they went very, very male. It seems like a bit of an overreaction after New Girl's collapse and Mindy Project's failure to launch, but at least it's...consistent?

Spot said...

Yep, I agree. The non consistent thing is the mindy project renewal. I can't understand it. It must have mind blowing 18-34 numbers. I would like to see those numbers more often to be honest. For instance, Bill Gorman over tb by the numbers was just saying that Glee often has the same 18-34 ratings as American Idol, which I would not expect!

Spot said...

A new bomb on the Fox front: 24 is apparently coming back as a 12 episode season. Deadline is reporting it and the writers have confirmed on twitter that it will be for 12 episodes... Any ideas how to schedule this mess? I am at a loss..

Spot said...

Another heavily male show. Another short-run series. Maybe a rethinking of the syndication model? Is it really worth it if you have to drag a show with sub-par ratings for a year or two to get to it?

Spot said...

Comedies

Renewed:
American Dad
Bob's Burgers
Family Guy
The Mindy Project
New Girl
Raising Hope

The Simpsons

Cancelled:
Ben And Kate
The Cleveland Show

Dramas:

Renewed:
Bones
The Following
Glee

Cancelled:

The Mob Doctor
Touch

They didn't debut a whole heck of a lot, especially compared to what they greenlit.

Pilot Pick-ups:

Comedies:

Dads (multi-camera)
Enlisted (single)
Us and Them (single) (used to be called Friends and Family)
Surviving Jack (single)
Brooklyn Nine-Nine (used to be called I Suck At Girls)

Dramas:

Gang Related
Rake
Sleepy Hollow
Almost Human

Spot said...

Mondays with The Following. Seems to reason that Fox would want to trumpet that 24 is returning to its long-time home. Hate to say it, but it'd dislodge Bones to Fridays.

Post a Comment

© SpottedRatings.com 2009-2018. All Rights Reserved.